August 5, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Jessie Yeung, Megan Trimble, Tara John and Adrienne Vogt, CNN

Updated 3:34 a.m. ET, August 8, 2022
8 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:07 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

Ukraine says it struck several ammo depots in the Kherson region

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva

Ukrainian forces say they struck several Russian ammunition and equipment depots in the Kherson region, as it continues its slow-moving counter-offensive to try and re-take lost territory in the South.

“Our attack aircrafts attacked two sites of enemy weapons and equipment in the Kherson and Kakhovka districts. A pair of helicopters destroyed an enemy stronghold in the occupied part of the Mykolaiv Oblast,” Ukraine’s Southern Command said on Friday. 

“Our missile and artillery units, during the execution of fire missions, densely attacked the enemy's air defense system and logistics points, including those with ammunition in the Kherson district,” it also said. 

According to the Ukrainian military, three ammunition and equipment depots were destroyed in the strikes, along with several S-300 anti-aircraft systems, a radar station, and nine armoured vehicles.

CNN cannot independently verify the Ukrainian claims.

3:41 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

Three ships depart from Ukraine's Black Sea ports carrying 57,000 tons of corn

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva and Yusuf Gezer

A Malta-flagged bulk carrier M/V Rojen vessel carrying tons of corn leaves the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, before heading to Teesport in the United Kingdom, on August 5.
A Malta-flagged bulk carrier M/V Rojen vessel carrying tons of corn leaves the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk, before heading to Teesport in the United Kingdom, on August 5. (Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Three ships — the Navi Star, the Rojen and the Polarnet — have departed from Ukraine's Black Sea port of Chornomorsk, carrying 57,000 tons of corn, the country’s infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Friday. 

The ships will travel to Turkey, the United Kingdom and Ireland, respectively. 

“We expect that the security guarantees of our partners from the UN and Turkey will continue to work, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants,” Kubrakov said. 
“In order to make that possible we plan to ensure the ports' ability to handle more than 100 vessels per month.”

He added that Ukraine has already received applications from ship owners "who are ready to enter our ports for loading," with the first arrival expected on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the first shipment of grain was allowed to leave Ukraine since the war began. The shipment left under a UN-brokered export deal, after Russia's months-long blockade of Ukrainian ports worsened a global food supply crisis.

4:38 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

Here's what could come next for Brittney Griner after being sentenced to 9 years by a Russian court

From CNN's Elizabeth Wolfe, Anna Chernova, Masha Angelova and Zahra Ullah

Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants' cage before the court's verdict in Khimki, Russia on August 4.
Brittney Griner sits inside a defendants' cage before the court's verdict in Khimki, Russia on August 4. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/Reuters)

After a Russian court sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison for a drug smuggling conviction on Thursday, the player's supporters, teammates and numerous US officials swiftly condemned the decision.

Now, Griner has returned to the detention center where she was held during her weeks-long trial as her lawyers vow to appeal the sentence and the Biden administration attempts to negotiate for her release.

The case: During the trial, Griner pleaded guilty to carrying less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage as she traveled through a Moscow airport on February 17. She testified that she was aware of Russia's strict drug laws and had no intention of bringing cannabis into the country, saying she was in a rush and "stress packing."

Her lawyers had hoped that Griner's guilty plea and statements of remorse would result in a more lenient sentence. In addition to her nine-year sentence, Griner must pay a fine of 1 million rubles (about $16,400).

What's next: Griner's legal team will file an appeal to the court's decision, which they must do within 10 days of the verdict, according to her lawyers.

"We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality. The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea," they said in a statement.

Prisoner swap: Last week, CNN reported that the Biden administration has proposed a prisoner swap, offering to exchange a convicted Russian arms trafficker for Griner and Whelan.

Whelan, a US citizen and former Marine, was handed a 16-year prison sentence in 2018 on espionage charges after a trial the US deemed unfair.

After Griner's sentence, National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said that it was "up to the Russian side" on whether the conviction will open the door for prisoner-swap negotiations.

Read more here.

4:37 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

Russia is ready to discuss prisoner swap with the US, says foreign minister

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio and Anna Chernova

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a press conference in Moscow on April 7.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks during a press conference in Moscow on April 7. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that Russia was ready to discuss an exchange of prisoners with the United States through a diplomatic channel agreed upon by the presidents of both countries.

“On the matter of persons who are convicted in Russia and in the United States ... There is a specified channel that has been agreed upon by the presidents, and no matter what anyone says publicly, this channel will remain in effect,” Lavrov told journalists at a news conference in Cambodia on Friday, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. 

“If the Americans decide to resort again to public diplomacy and make boisterous announcements, statements that they are now going to take such-and-such steps, that's their business, their problem," he said.

“We are ready to discuss this topic, but within the framework of the channel that has been agreed by the presidents (of Russia and the United States) Putin and Biden."

That diplomatic channel was agreed during the June 2021 summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti.

“We are talking about the conversation between the two Presidents in Geneva,” Peskov said.

Some context: A high-profile prisoner swap discussion is underway after the Biden administration offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence, in exchange for two Americans held by Russia, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

WNBA star Griner was sentenced by a Russian court to nine years in prison for a drug smuggling conviction on Thursday.

12:21 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

Zelensky says Amnesty report tries to "shift the responsibility" away from Russia

From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Thursday Aug. 4.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during his evening video message on Thursday Aug. 4. (Office of President of Ukraine)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday lashed out at an Amnesty International report that claimed his country's forces have at times used tactics that endanger civilians as they repel Russia's invasion.

The report tries to "shift the responsibility" of civilian deaths in Ukraine away from Russia, Zelensky said in his nightly address.

"We saw today a completely different report from Amnesty International, which, unfortunately, tries to amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim," Zelensky said.

Zelensky's remarks come after Amnesty published a report on Thursday saying Ukrainian forces had put civilians in harm's way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals.

"There are no and can be no, even hypothetically, conditions under which any Russian attack on Ukraine becomes justified," Zelensky said, adding that Russia had destroyed hundreds of religious buildings, nearly 900 medical institutions and thousands of schools.

"This is such immoral selectivity," Zelensky said. "Anyone who amnesties Russia and who artificially creates a such informational context where some attacks by terrorists are supposedly justified or supposedly understandable cannot fail to understand that, in doing so, they are helping the terrorists."
12:08 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

EU sanctions pro-Russian former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his eldest son

From CNN's Sarah Diab and Claudia Rebaza

Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is seen in this February 21, 2014 photo in Kyiv.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is seen in this February 21, 2014 photo in Kyiv. (Thomas Trutschel/Photothek/Getty Images)

The European Council on Thursday announced sanctions against ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his eldest son amid Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr Yanukovych have been sanctioned, "for their role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and the state's stability and security," the council said in a statement.

Some context: In 2013, pro-European protests erupted in Ukraine's capital Kyiv after Yanukovych decided to not sign an association agreement with the European Union, opting instead to pursue closer ties with Russia. Yanukovych fled Ukraine in 2014 amid the political crisis.

11:20 p.m. ET, August 4, 2022

3 more grain ships expected to leave Ukrainian ports Friday

From CNN's Petro Zadorozhnyy

Three more ships laden with grain are expected to leave Ukrainian ports on Friday morning, according to Ukrainian and Turkish officials.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook that two of the ships were expected to depart from the southern port of Chornomorsk, with another leaving from nearby Odesa.

"After that, a caravan will be formed, which, together with the leading ship, will go to the ports of destination," he said. The three ships will together carry more than 50,000 metric tons of Ukrainian corn, he added.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar confirmed the three ships would sail under the auspices of the agreement signed by Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine on July 22.

“As a result of the intense work and coordination at the [Joint Coordination] center, three ships are planned to set sail from Ukrainian ports," Akar said.
4:36 a.m. ET, August 5, 2022

WNBA star Brittney Griner sentenced to 9 years in Russian jail for drug-smuggling

From CNN's Anna Chernova, Zahra Ullah, Masha Angelova, Chris Liakos and Eric Levenson

WNBA star Brittney Griner walks out after the court's verdict in Khimki, Russia on August 4.
WNBA star Brittney Griner walks out after the court's verdict in Khimki, Russia on August 4. (Evgenia Novozhenina/Pool/Reuters)

American women's basketball star Brittney Griner was convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia and sentenced to nine years of jail time Thursday in a case that has raised concerns she is being used as a political pawn in Russia's war against Ukraine.

Judge Anna Sotnikova of the Khimki city court delivered the sentence and fined Griner 1 million rubles, or about $16,400. She said the court took into account Griner's partial admission of guilt, remorse for the deed, state of health and charitable activities. Prosecutors had asked that she be sentenced to 9.5 years in jail.

Prior to the verdict, Griner apologized to the court and asked for leniency in an emotional speech.

"I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here," Griner said. "I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that, that is far from this courtroom.
"I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws. I had no intent. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime," she added.
After the sentence, Griner told a CNN producer as she left court, "I love my family."

The verdict comes about six months after the 31-year-old was arrested at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian prosecutors of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. The two-time US Olympic basketball gold medalist pleaded guilty to drug charges last month and said she accidentally packed the drugs while in a hurry.

Read more here.